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State v. Guilbert

Supreme Court of Connecticut
306 Conn. 218 (2012)


Facts

At 11:30 pm on October 8, 2004, William Robinson was shot in a bar at which Cedric Williams and Terry Ross were also present. At 12:40 a.m. on October 9, 2004, police observed Brady Guilbert (defendant) running away from the bar wearing a black or blue jacket. At 12:51 a.m. that same day, the police found Ross’ car crashed into a tree. Ross and Williams were found in the car shot in the head. Both died from their wounds. It was later determined they had been shot by the same gun that had shot Robinson. Later that evening, Robinson identified Guilbert as the shooter. Nine days later, Lashon Baldwin saw Guilbert’s photograph in the news and told police that she had seen him running out of Ross’ car the night of the shooting wearing a black jacket. Her cousin, Jackie Gomez, corroborated Baldwin’s testimony at trial. Baldwin and Gomez both knew Guilbert personally prior to that incident. One day later, Scott Lang saw Guilbert’s photograph in the news and later testified at trial that Guilbert had shot Robinson at the bar while wearing a black jacket. Before the trial took place, Guilbert sought to introduce expert testimony of a doctor who would have testified as to how stress affects memory, how there is a lack of correlation between confidence and accuracy of memory, and how a person who obtains information about an event after the fact may mistakenly believe that same information was obtained earlier. The trial court precluded the expert’s testimony, on grounds that, according to State v. Kemp, 199 Conn. 473 (1986) and State v. McClendon, 248 Conn. 572 (1999), the average juror is already aware of factors that affect the reliability of eyewitness identification. Guilbert appealed, arguing the trial court should have allowed him to present expert testimony on the fallibility of eyewitness identifications.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Palmer, J.)

Concurrence (Zarella, J.)

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